Case filed against 2 journalists in India for interviewing Sri Lankan refugees

A case has been registered in India against two journalists from Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari for visiting Sri Lankan refugee camps to seek the views of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees on the controversial Indian Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The journalists have been booked by the Kanyakumari district police under non-bailable sections for visiting the camps set up in the coastal district to know the views of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees on the amended law, Times Now News reported.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which was passed recently by the Indian Parliament, excludes Tamil refugees.

Earlier, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had urged the Centre to consider giving Indian citizenship to Tamils from Sri Lanka, who have been “living in the country as refugees” for a long time.

Seeking Indian citizenship for over one lakh Tamil Sri Lankans, the spiritual leader said that they are living in the country as refugees for the last 35 years.

“I request the Government of India to consider giving citizenship to more than 1 lakh Tamil Sri Lankans who are living in this country as refugees for the last 35 years,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar wrote on Twitter.

The contentious Act paved the way for granting Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains from three neighbouring countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. According to the amended law, non-Muslim migrants who fled these three countries and came to India before December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution, will be given Indian citizenship.

Earlier, ahead of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan had questioned as to why persecuted Tamils and Muslims from Sri Lanka were left out of the ambit of the legislation.

“Why are Tamils who are subjected to a methodic genocide and Muslims facing discrimination, be excluded from the bill? If it’s a genuinely benevolent bill and not a vote garnering exercise, then why won’t this CAB stop to pick up stranded Tamils & troubled Muslims of Sri Lanka?” he had asked on Twitter.

The Central government has come under sharp criticism for granting Indian citizenship on the ground of religion with several people across the country protesting against the amended law.